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Incidents of travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan

Stephens, John L.

Published by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1867
Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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424 and 474 pages. front., illus., 27 pl. (2 fold. ) port., map, plan. 22 cm. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: John Lloyd Stephens. John Lloyd Stephens (November 28, 1805 October 13, 1852) was an American explorer, writer, and diplomat. Stephens was a pivotal figure in the rediscovery of Maya civilization throughout Middle America. John Lloyd Stephens was born November 28, 1805, in the township of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Stephens received an education in the Classics at two privately-tutored schools. At the early age of 13 he enrolled at Columbia College, graduating at the top of his class four years later in 1822. Stephens read with interest early accounts of ruined cities of Mesoamerica by such writers and explorers as Alexander von Humboldt and Juan Galindo. In 1839, President Martin Van Buren commissioned Stephens as Special Ambassador to Central America. While there, the government of the Federal Republic of Central America fell apart in civil war. His Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatán gives a vivid description of some of those events which Stephens witnessed. Stephens and his traveling companion, architect and draftsman Frederick Catherwood first came across Maya ruins at Copán, having landed in British Honduras (present-day Belize). They were astonished at their findings and spent a couple weeks mapping the site. They surmised that this must have been built by some long forgotten people as they couldn't imagine the native Mayans as having lived in the city. Stephens was actually able to buy the city of Copan for a sum of $50 and had dreams of floating it down the river and into museums in The United States. They went on to Palenque, Uxmal, and according to Stephens, visited a total of 44 sites. Stephens and Catherwood reached Palenque in April 1840 and left in early June. They documented the Temple of the Inscriptions, the Temple of the Cross, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Foliated Cross. [4] Of even greater importance, their book provided descriptions of several ancient Maya sites, along with illustrations by Catherwood. These were greatly superior in both amount and accuracy of depiction to the small amount of information on ancient Mesoamerica previously published. Stephens continued his investigations of Maya ruins with a return trip to Yucatán which produced a further book. His books served to inspire Edgar Allan Poe, who also reviewed three of his travel books for the New York Review and Graham's Magazine. He suffered from a disease of the liver, and died after four months of illness at the age of forty-six. He is buried in the New York City Marble Cemetery. Stephens is the subject of a biography Maya Explorer by Victor Wolfgang von Hagen, first published in 1947. Good. No dust jacket. Rebound, library grade binding. All listed engravings and map present. Some page foxing and soiling noted. Bookseller Inventory # 65726

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Incidents of travel in Central America, ...

Publisher: Harper & Brothers, New York

Publication Date: 1867

Binding: Hardcover

Illustrator: Catherwood, Frederick (Draftsman)

Edition: Twelfth Edition.

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